Senvion 600MW Aussie wind OK

Suzlon-owned Senvion has received the green light to build the southern hemisphere’s biggest wind farm – the 600MW, A$1.5bn ($1.34bn) Ceres project in South Australia.

The 197-turbine Ceres plan – which includes an undersea HVDC cable across  Gulf St Vincent to connect to the Adelaide grid – was given approval by the South Australian state government yesterday.

Senvion Australia  – formerly known as  REpower Australia – first unveiled plans to develop the wind farm on the state’s Yorke Peninsula in late 2011, taking a 65% stake in the project company.

Germany-based Senvion hopes to start work on the project by the end of this year and complete it in 2016.

The approval is a big boost for Senvion, a subsidiary of India’s Suzlon, and the profile of wind power in Australia.

Renewables have been fighting a rearguard action to maintain momentum in the country under the more sceptical national leadership of Tony Abbott’s government, elected last year.

At 600MW Ceres would surpass the 420MW Macarthur as the biggest wind farm in Australia and the southern hemisphere.

Chris Judd, Senvion Australia’s managing director, said: “We congratulate the South Australian government on its continued leadership and vision for renewable energy in the state.”

The company said the plan approved for Ceres includes “unprecedented environmental credentials” and will produce enough power annually for 225,000 homes.

The project team will now focus on securing approval for the connection and other issues, said Senvion.